Video: 'Convention Notebook'

By Chief foreign affairs correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/26/2004 1:33:11 PM ET 2004-07-26T17:33:11

As the Democratic convention gets underway today, the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee are trying to soften any edges that might offend swing voters.

So the word is out: the liberal wing of the party is being told to avoid any harsh rhetoric. That could already be affecting tonight's headliners: last night, Al Gore's speech was basically torn up, according to two sources, and is now being rewritten, presumably to fit more closely with the party line. The other challenge tonight is to avoid having two Democratic party stars.

On tonight's schedule, Bill and Hillary Clinton overshadow Kerry, who is far less charismatic. In fact, the party was originally trying so hard to avoid putting the spotlight on Hillary, they weren't even going to have her speak. Now she'll introduce her husband, in primetime. 

If the rhetoric is supposed to be tame to fit the party's prescription, one thing that hasn't changed this year is the prominence of high rollers. Campaign finance reform or not, the fat cats are here, and they're underwriting a big part of this multi-million dollar extravaganza.

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